LEXINGTON, VA. (WDBJ) – “I was named after my grandmother,” said Nadene Gutirrez. “What is one of the reasons why I do what I do.”
Gutirrez helps people in their homes. She is among 30,000 domestic workers serving the elderly and disabled across Virginia.
“She had different things, but her main focus was Alzheimer’s and heart failure,” Gutirrez explained. “And I couldn’t because I was young and had small children to take care of them. And so she ended up in a nursing home. “
She wants to help other families not to face this dilemma. But recent changes could make this impossible.
“If we don’t raise rates by raising the minimum wage, this population is at risk,” said Jaclyn Hostetter of AmeriCare Plus. “Both the supervisors and the customers.”
Workers like those for AmeriCare Plus are paid hourly through Medicaid. When you add the overhead, the new minimum wage means these aides cost more than the company is getting.
They say they need to increase the state-set Medicaid rates to cover the cost.
“We have to be able to pay our carers a decent wage,” said Hostetter. “And that’s the way to do it.”
Otherwise, according to AmeriCare Plus, the business won’t work.
“We do everything we can to ensure that we can take care of our customers and our supervisors, because none of this works without our supervisors,” said Hostetter. “They are the most important thing in all of our business models, our mentors, and they are the ones who need it.”
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